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Political Breakfast with Saad El Katatni

Berlin, November 8, 2012

Saad El Katatni, Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), the political wing of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, met in Berlin with Members of the German Bundestag, representatives from government agencies, and selected experts. Saad El Katatni addressed the issue of Political Islam and the special role of the Salafis. With regard to the constitution-making process he emphasized that a speedy agreement was necessary to rebuild Egypt’s economy and political system.

Saad El Katatni was President of Egypt’s People’s Assembly from January 2012 until the parliament was dissolved.

“It is imperative to integrate the Salafis in the political system.”

El Katatni addressed the new role of Islamic parties in Egypt’s political process. He argued that it would be a big mistake to isolate or even ban the Salafis. This would only lead to further radicalization. All forces should be integrated into the constitution-making process and the future parliamentary work to create a broad political alliance.

“We are following a moderate course. The entire world can benefit from this.”

In the discussion, El Katatni also stressed the role of his own party. He emphasized that it was the declared aim of the Freedom and Justice Party to pursue their policies in the interest of the entire Egyptian people. Future political competition was to be based on substantial party programs rather than individual personalities. Focusing on urgently needed reforms was key to approach the challenges ahead. However, indications regarding the concrete economic policy of the Freedom and Justice Party remained vague.

“Egypt has to play a leading role in the region – that is our goal.”

Regarding foreign policy, El Katatni underlined Egypt’s claim for a leading regional role. The events of the Arab Spring had led to significant power shifts. In terms of the future balance of interest it was thus necessary for Egypt to regain a position as strong and reliable actor. In this regard El Katatni emphasized the key role of close economic cooperation and enhanced intergovernmental dialogue within the region.

Körber Foundation regularly invites a small circle of high-ranking actors within Berlin’s foreign policy community to its Political Background Discussions. As in the Bergedorf Round Tables, the discussions take place shielded from the public, so as to enable a confidential, frank, and constructive exchange.

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